Derry & Strabane Council was yesterday upping its preparations for the arrival of the Clipper race boats as it emerged the first Clipper boats could arrive a day earlier than originally expected.
The Derry-Londonderry-Doire boat could be among the first to sweep across the Atlantic and arrive in Derry next Wednesday, July 6, as it is currently in second place on the open seas.
A massive homecoming celebration is is planned over the coming weeks during the Foyle Maritime Festival.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Alderman Hilary McClintock, urged people to come out to support the crews as they arrive after their gruelling Atlantic Ocean crossing.
She said: “In previous years the city has turned out in force to line the quayside in support of the teams as they journey up the Foyle and they have received a warm welcome as they have stepped ashore after their lengthy journey. The Derry~Londonderry~Doire crew is really blazing a trail and from what I have heard it will be a hard fought battle to steal victory in Race 12, the LegenDerry Finale, which is partly why the fleet is breaking records in its efforts to get here. I think it’s important that we acknowledge the hard work of all the crew – especially the outstanding performance of our own team – by turning out to show our support.”
A spokesperson for Clipper Ventures announced the early arrival, confirming that an extension of the route would be added this year to account for some of the time saved, taking the flight around Tory Island before landing in Derry.
“The Clipper Race fleet has made fast progress in Race 12 ‘The LegenDerry Finale’ and has broken through the North Atlantic High (NAH) much quicker than anticipated following the experience of previous editions,” the spokesperson confirmed.
“After extensive consultation between the Clipper Race Office and Derry City and Strabane District Council, the earliest we can bring forward the required infrastructure is Wednesday 6 July.”
The Maritime Festival in Derry will the kick off on Saturday, July 9.